Waste reduction and recycling programs and industries must be given even higher priority in Western Australia to the point where the State became the role model for the rest of the nation.
Deputy Premier and State Development Minister Ian Taylor told the Recycle '92 Seminar today that the last 12 months had resulted in significant steps towards reducing waste output in WA, an even bigger effort was needed.
"We are still recycling only 11 per cent of our solid wastes - and the majority of this is scrap metal - and at the household level we are only managing nine per cent," Mr Taylor said.
"While there is a general recognition what we will always need waste disposal - the emphasis must be on making it a last option and we must think recycle, re-use, reclaim and reduce first.
"We must do more.
"Since last year's seminar, the number of households serviced by kerbside collection in the metropolitan areas has reached the 50 per cent mark - a target achieved through nearly 80 per cent of Perth councils providing a kerbside collection of some description.
"This expansion is notable and should be praised but what it does highlight is that some of Perth's largest councils need to lift their game."
Mr Taylor said the last year had resulted in some major initiatives towards reducing waste, especially in the metropolitan area.
· the State Recycling Blueprint, a broad-based study into achieving a national and State goal of halving the waste going to landfill by the end of the century. The study had reached the end of its public review period and would now be finalised and presented to Cabinet;
· the announcement of a joint project between the State Development Department and the Mindarie Region Council in commissioning a study of compost and organic fertiliser markets with a view to establishing major organic waste processing plants in Perth; and
· the opening in February this year of Paper Products Pty Ltd's Palmyra egg carton plant. This industry recycled 3,000 tonnes of waste paper, created 40 new jobs and saved WA $400,000 a year in transport costs as egg cartons used to be shipped in from Victoria.
Mr Taylor said two potential projects for WA - the Westpaper newsprint de-inking plant and the River House Moora Pulp Mill - would utilise about 100,000 tonnes of waste paper and cardboard a year, create hundreds of new jobs and represented a $200 million investment in the State.